This past weekend I was solo-parenting from Friday until Tuesday because my husband went to a destination bachelor party. I didn’t dread this. Nor did I mind. But come Thursday of this week – after the solo pool trips, the solo grocery trips, the solo bedtimes and the work, work, WORK… I was D.O.N.E. I reached some imaginary limit of excessive labor and I just wanted to sit down and read something or write something because I wanted to, not because I had to. And I wanted to do it without hearing one single “MOMMY!”
When my husband came home from the gym on Thursday I promptly locked myself in my office after giving him that look that said, “You better give me a wide berth or this shit’s gonna get real,” with an extra eyebrow lift that said, “and I ain’t even playin’ because you owe me.” I had a wine glass in one hand and my other arm was curled around a half bottle of sparkling wine like a favorite blankie.
Then I got into my office, alone, with my wine, and what did I do? … I worked. Because, of course. What is wrong with me?
By the time I had to go to bed I hadn’t had a chance to calm my thoughts. My mind was still reeling with all the work, all the chores, the what if’s and all the things that still needed to be done. There was a bushel of unfinished thoughts in my brain that were now rolling around like thorned tumble weeds headed for trouble. I was restless. Even after the wine I was jittery which is why I could never be an alcoholic because my thoughts are too powerful for fermented grapes.
When my thoughts circle the bowl like this it takes herculean efforts to get back to a calm place. A place that doesn’t feel like my world is lit match laying next to a growing pool of gasoline. And if it’s bedtime, forget about it. I’ll be listening to my husband snore for an hour before my body even begins to think about sleep.
I am lucky to have six best friends. Six amazing women who have my back, love me, accept me, know me better than I know myself. I count these ladies among the greatest blessings and when I start feeling anxious and restless like this, I try to count my blessings to fall asleep instead of sheep.
One of those dear friends, my oldest friend, sent me a handmade booklet she photo-copied and bound. It’s a simple little flip book made of paper, tape and a plastic bind. It fits in the palm of my hand. On one side of the page is one of these errant tumble weed thoughts. A circle the bowl, light the match, pour the gasoline thought. Things like, “I’m so tired. I can’t do anything right. Why can’t I figure this out? I’m never going to be good enough.” On the other side, is a corresponding verse of scripture to counteract that thought. Genius, right?
This dear, wonderful friend who knows me so well, sent this to me in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I set it aside as I wasn’t feeling particularly in need of such a rudimentary tool to get me through the day.
But that night, I was there. That place where only something homemade will do. Something rudimentary and simple and easy to understand. Something given to me by someone I love, who loves me, to remind me that I am always loved.. Have you ever just needed something like that?
So I pulled out the little homemade book and I read it front to back. Page by page I picked up those tumble weeds and I put them back in the barrel. Page by page I gently blew out the match and poured kitty litter on the gasoline because that’s how you soak up gasoline right?
I fell asleep with it in the palm of my hand which amazes me even now. But I guess I shouldn’t be amazed. Because that’s where we all are — right?